Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish by Christina Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Friendship is something that many of us struggle with. We long for it, yet often find ourselves on the outside, wondering what it takes to have the closeness we see others experiencing. In this book, the author particularly addresses the area of friendships for women in the church. For Christian women, friendship goes beyond merely being friends, but having a bond and unity in Christ that makes us a family. She uses the example of the Trinity as an example of perfect community – three persons in one – experiencing perfect unity and community. Because we are made in God’s image, we have been made to experience community with one another. But because of sin, that community has become broken and does not often meet the desires that we have for it.
After explaining the theology behind Biblical friendships and the unity we have as believers in Christ, the author then takes us into practical ways that we can serve and encourage each other and thus grow in our friendships. Community takes work and she talks about some of the downfalls that we often experience. Loss of friendships whether through moving, changes of the season of life, or conflict, all contribute to our loneliness and longing for community. In the last section of the book, the author addresses ways that friendships can be destroyed through gossip or even idolizing our friends and placing unrealistic expectations on them.
Developing friendships such as the author describes requires effort on our part. Not everyone at our church will become a close friend. But rather than waiting for others to come to us, we need to reach out in service to our sisters in Christ. While we wait for friendships to develop, we also remember that ultimately Christ is our true Friend, One who never lets us down or leaves us.
I recommend this book, whether friendship is a struggle for you or not. It is a good reminder of what friendships should strive to be and Who ultimately is the Friend we all long for.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher Christian Focus in exchange for my review.
Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications by Michael R. Emlet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book addresses a controversial topic among Christians – the use of medications for treatment of various mental ailments. The author does an excellent job of balancing this topic in a Biblical manner, also showing that it’s not always a cut-and-dried response. There is not a once-size-fits-all answer for this challenging area of medications.
The first section of the book deals with the history of psychiatry and development of various mental illnesses as seen in the Diagnostic Manuals and their continual updating through the years. The second section then deals with medications – what they are and what they are prescribed for, as well as not knowing completely how they work. I found his approach balanced and Biblical.
For those who may be on one side of the issue or the other, this book presents a balanced response and a “middle-of-the-road” approach to the difficult decisions involved with deciding whether or not medication is needed in the lives of those struggling. I recommend those who come across this issue to read this book for help.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher New Growth Press in exchange for my review.
True Feelings: God’s Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions by Carolyn Mahaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Often we look at our emotions and view them as bad. Yet emotions themselves are not bad, rather how we use them. Learning to recognize and control our emotions is a battle we all face. In this book, the authors provide some practical steps to better understand our emotions and learn to use them in a God-honoring way rather than in sinful patterns.
Emotions “tell us what we believe and value. We should listen to what they are telling us and evaluate our emotions in light of Scripture. Emotions also move. We should not try to deny their persuading power, but instead allow them to drive us to God.” When our emotions manifest themselves, we should evaluate what that particular emotion is revealing about what we believe and value. For example, anger at being cut off in traffic reveals that we value our safety. Or it may reveal that we want to be in control and have our drive go smoothly. Recognizing our underlying beliefs and values behind our emotions helps us to then respond according to what Scripture teaches rather than turning to a sinful response. If the beliefs or values that an emotion reveals is not Biblical, that emotion is an indication that we need to change our belief or value so that it lines up with Scripture.
This book provides great information for us to evaluate our emotions Biblically and some practical steps for moving forward. If you struggle with your emotions, this is a good read to provide hope and encouragement.
*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher Crossway through Netgalley in exchange for my review.